, Muskogee, OK

July 11, 2013

Rattle the cage: Fists of Fury Cage Fights hit town Saturday night

By Leilani Roberts Ott
Phoenix Correspondent

— Blood, sweat, knockouts, choke outs and tap outs ... you’ll see it all at Fists of Fury #1 Cage Fights at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Muskogee Civic Center.

“It’s like caging a wild animal,” Jim Morris said. “Ever since the day of the gladiator, it’s about who is the toughest and strongest.”

Morris of Chilocothe, Ohio, event coordinator, has put together 12 mixed martial arts fights for the night — three professional and nine amateur. Tyrel “Hooligan” Brown of Fort Gibson fighting David “Free Bird” Lindsey of Jacksonville, Ark., is the featured fight. Brown, who has 10 wins and three losses as a pro, said he’ll be center steel cage as the last fight of the night.

Brown, who is a welder/mechanic for the O.G.&E. Power Plant between Muskogee and Fort Gibson, has been working out in his gym, Hooligan’s Fight Club in Muskogee. As a professional MMA fighter, he’s helping others like Billy Stimmel, 27, of Muskogee and Blake Nichols, 24, of Antioch, Calif., to prepare for the big event.

Stimmell, a former Muskogee High School wrestler, said the guys and girls at the gym are a “family” and they want to cheer each other on.

“My goal is the get a knockout,” Stimmell said after a practice with Nichols. “It’s a good adrenaline rush and a good way to stay in shape.”

Nichols, a wrestler for Bacone College, said he’s looking forward to Saturday.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “I’m going to give everything I’ve got and win.”

Morris said the Oklahoma Boxing Commission suggested Muskogee as a good location for the fight. There will be fighters from five states. He hopes the community comes out to support it so there can be other events.

“There are 12 action-packed fights,” Morris said. “It’s the thrill of victory and fighting for fame.”

A fighter in a match in Las Vegas can get as much as $10,000 for a fight.

“It’s a chance to witness the most exciting combatitive event in the world today,” Morris said. “It’s the first time for Muskogee.”

Brown has to fight his pro fights outside of his hometown, so he’s looking forward to hearing local folks cheer him on against Lindsey.

“I’m expecting him to be a ground guy,” Brown said. “It will be grappler vs. striker.”

Brown, who has been classified as a pro since 2006, said Saturday’s fights will be a different level than what Muskogee is used to seeing with quality professional fights and amateur. He started as a boxer and got into fighting as a way to stay in shape.

He trains women, children and men to box and also teaches self-defense classes. One of his club members is Alred Walker, who is a pro fighter. His next match is Aug. 16 in Jefferson City, Mo.

“MMA is the hottest thing going right now,” Walker said. “It’s the fastest growing sport ever.”

Morris described it as a “rush.”

“People pick out their favorites and cheer them on,” he said. “They’ll look for their stamina and witness the determination.”

If you go

WHAT: Fists of Fury #1 Cage Fights, sanctioned by the Oklahoma Athletic Boxing Commission.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Muskogee Civic Center.

TICKETS: $25, general admission; and $40, ringside, and available at Mayhlon’s; John Michael’s Music; J&E Western Wear; Sooner Surplus; Road, Track and Trail; Muskogee Civic Center; online; or by phone (877) 851-8427 or (918) 684-6363.